Danny Beaulieu of Fort Providence is the first winner of the Aurora Ford Classic dog sled race.
The musher led from start to finish in the two-day Hay River to Enterprise and back race on Jan. 19 and 20.
“It was an awesome race,” Beaulieu said, as he received his award as the top finisher on Jan. 20. “The track was hard and fast.”
Beaulieu also thanked the organizers of the new race, particularly Hay River’s Danny Beck who was instrumental in making the race a reality.
“I never thought he was going to do it, but he did it,” Beaulieu said.
Thirteen teams of 12 dogs each participated in the race along the side of Highway 2 – a distance of 22.8 miles each day.
Along with Beaulieu, the other top 10 finishers – in order from second to tenth – were Cai Reid, Anthony Beck, Grant Beck, Trevor Lizotte, Susan Fleck, Brent Beck, Alexis Campbell, Danny Beck and Wynter McQueen.
The first-place team won $2,200 and the prizes incrementally decreased to a 10th-place prize of $1,000 – for a total prize pot of $15,100.
Danny Beck, the president of the Hay River Dog Mushing Club, was pleased with the first Aurora Ford Classic.
“I’m really happy with it, and I’m looking forward to next year to try and tweak some of the things,” he said. “Like the trail next year will be dragged instead of plowed so there will be more snow on it. Other than that, and a little bit more money in the race for prizes, I don’t see anything we can improve.”
One of the goals in having the race along Highway 2 was to let it be more visible to people.
“We brought the race to the people and people seemed to be very happy with it,” said Beck.
The organizer expects more racers will compete next year.
The Hay River Dog Mushing Club was officially founded as a society in November so the Aurora Ford Classic could be organized under a non-profit group.